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Calcium Constipation

Unbelievably—calcium can constipate you. That doesn’t mean you should stop eating calcium-rich foods. Calcium helps form strong bones, especially in younger people (pre-teens and teens) who should get about 1200 milligrams each day; but how much do you know about calcium constipation? If you already realize not all forms of calcium are created equal, and taking calcium citrate is less constipating than calcium carbonate, you are ahead of the game. Take this true-or-false test and see how well you score.

True or False

Sue’s doctor told her she was at risk for Osteoporosis, so she started eating more dairy products like yogurt and cheese. She also started taking calcium supplements. It’s recommended women over 50 should get about 1,200 milligrams of calcium a day. Sue thinks taking 2,000 milligrams might cause calcium constipation, but the additional bone-health benefits are worth it to her to help reduce the risk for skeletal injuries e.g. from falling.

You can never get too much calcium.

False. This goes along with the “Super-size it” mentality: if a little is good, more must be better right? Not always. The truth is—Sue is probably adding quite a few additional, nonproductive visits to the bathroom due to calcium constipation while not gaining any extra benefit for her bones.

Moreover, if Sue is already following a calcium-enriched diet and supplementing with 2,000 milligrams more, she could be causing more harm than good. It is not recommended to exceed 2,500 milligrams of calcium intake a day. She may be harming her kidneys as well. At the very least, she is making the kidneys work overtime and increasing her risk for developing certain types of kidney stones.

The body can’t absorb calcium very efficiently when it gets more than about 500 milligrams at a time, so calcium supplementation should be spaced throughout the day. Some people like to drink milk at night, for example, believing it will help them enjoy a good night’s sleep.

Should Sue stop taking calcium at the recommended levels if she suffers from calcium constipation? Well, the constipation can be countered without risking weakened bones. First, she should be drinking lots of purified water. Sue should also be eating 5 servings of fresh fruits and vegetables per day, since they are good examples of foods to relieve constipation. 20 minutes of exercise, on a daily basis, will also help keep constipation at bay.

If Sue still experiences calcium constipation after lowering her calcium intake, it might be wise to add magnesium to the mix. Magnesium tends to relax muscles and attracts water to the colon, which is needed for softening stools. In fact, if you want to help keep your colon clean and prevent constipation, Oxy-Powder® is an all-natural product containing magnesium. Oxy-Powder® uses the power of oxygen to melt away accumulated waste material from the lining of the colon so it can be removed naturally by the body.

More True and False

Calcium is important only for bone growth.

False. Calcium regulates the heartbeat, helps nerves conduct impulses, and helps blood to clot for sealing wounds. Since bones are made up of protein and minerals, and calcium is one of those minerals, there is no denying its importance for bones, but calcium works for the body in more ways than just strengthening the skeleton.

Joe was always on the move. He wanted to make sure he was getting enough calcium but didn’t want calcium constipation to enter the picture. He bought calcium-fortified orange juice and drank at least 2 cups a day. Since he loved sardines as well, he ate them often for lunch with yogurt. To keep himself regular, Joe ate dried figs as a snack. And, to make sure his body was able to absorb all the calcium, he took 400 units of Vitamin D a day.

So Joe should still have taken a calcium supplement to keep his bones growing strong, right?

False. Joe’s bones couldn’t care less whether his calcium comes from the foods he eats or from supplements. Adding fortified orange juice to his diet gave him 350 milligrams of calcium per cup. Sardines, yogurt, and figs all provide calcium as well; however, the body needs vitamin D to absorb it properly. More and more studies are pointing to vitamin D as the best approach to optimizing calcium intake levels.

So, how did you do? Well, whether you aced the quiz with flying colors or need to study more. The important message is—you don’t have to put up with calcium constipation as a side effect of a healthy diet.

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